Industrial Action Update #2

02/12/2019

Belfast Trust understands the distress and anxiety caused by the decision to cancel a number of planned appointments, day case procedures and planned surgeries / admissions as a result of industrial action. The Trust is sincerely sorry for the significant impact this is likely to have on patients.

We are dealing this week with the combined impact of industrial action by two unions, which includes strike action and action short of strike. This means that not just nursing but vital patient support services are affected.  All our staff play a central role in ensuring the totality of services to all our patients continue. 

This includes pharmacy services; sterilising instruments for day procedures and operations; transporting sterile and dirty equipment to and from operating theatres; ensuring patient samples go to laboratories; medical records; x-ray and imaging services; portering services to bring patients to and from scans and theatres; catering; domestic services; laundry; security; and car parking.

Industrial action, including strike action and action short of strike involving all these areas is taking place this week. Across all our sites, we have work to rules where we cannot access bank staff, overtime or additional hours should staff call in sick. 

We have therefore, regrettably been left in the position that we cannot guarantee required staffing levels for the impacted services and once again apologise to all patients affected. Our principle priority is to maintain a safe environment for staff and patients alike across our facilities.

All outpatient appointments, day case procedures and planned surgeries / planned admissions other than those listed below have been postponed for Tuesday 3 December 2019.

Emergency services and day centres are not affected by this industrial action.

We will be writing to all affected patients to provide a rescheduled appointment or admission date as soon as possible. Due to the extraordinary circumstances and the large number of people affected, we would ask that people do not ring the Trust to reschedule their appointment. We can assure our patients that we will be in touch with them in due course.

Once again, we are extremely sorry for the disruption this decision will cause.